Research to drive innovation in stroke

February 08, 2021
A new study, utilising telehealth to help survivors of stroke in rural and regional Australia return to work, was among six innovative projects funded in the 2021 Stroke Foundation Research Grants round, announced today.  

A total of $375,000 was awarded to six researchers across Australia to generate new knowledge with the potential to drive improvements in stroke prevention, treatment and care. 

Stroke Foundation Research Advisory Committee Chair Professor Amanda Thrift said Stroke Foundation was on a mission to address research gaps, paving the way for change in real world practice to help survivors of stroke thrive in their recovery. 

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the importance of high quality, independent and robust research and rapid translation of its results into practice to combat disease,’’ said Prof Thrift. 

“COVID-19’s direct and indirect impacts have also brought new opportunities and priorities in research to the fore. 

“Our research community has responded, and I am excited to announce the recipients of the 2021 Stroke Foundation Research Grants have an increased focus on improved use of telehealth services in stroke prevention, treatment and care. 

“I congratulate all of the worthy grant recipients and look forward to seeing the outcomes of their important studies,’’ she said. 

Prof Thift said the pandemic saw the use of telehealth in stroke rapidly expanded. It was now vital that research was delivered to maximise the benefits of healthcare delivery via this medium. 

“Stroke Foundation’s Research Grant round will kickstart this work, providing our researchers with funds to start projects and establish strong foundations for future, larger studies,’’ she said.    

More than 27,400 Australians experienced a stroke for the first time in 2020 and there are more than 445,000 survivors of stroke living in our community.  

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said she was thrilled to expand the Stroke Foundation grants program this year to include the Nancy and Vic Allen Stroke Prevention Memorial Fund grant. The round also included the Tim Glendinning Memorial Fund for Young Adult Stroke grant for the second time.   

“I would like to wholeheartedly thank trustee Ava-May Morgan, the Glendinning family and all of our generous supporters for providing these researchers with the opportunity to build evidence in a variety of areas that have the potential to make a significant difference to lives,” Ms McGowan said.  
Stroke Foundation has awarded almost $5.3 million to more than 200 researchers since 2008. 

2021 recipients: 

Dr Alyna Turner, Deakin University, Tim Glendinning Memorial Fund for Young Adult Stroke ($75,000). Resuming Employment after Stroke: Enhancement through Telecoordination” - RESET Rural Expansion.  

Professor Coralie English, University of Newcastle, Nancy and Vic Allen Stroke Prevention Memorial Fund Grant ($100,000).  i-REBOUND after stroke – development of an online program to prevent recurrent stroke and support long-term health and well-being.  

Early Career Seed Grants ($50,000) 

Lauren Christie, Nursing Research Institute (NRI) - St Vincent's Health Network, Sydney and Australian Catholic University. ReCITE (Remote Constraint Induced Therapy of the upper Extremity): An implementation study   

Dr Caroline Baker, La Trobe University. Optimising mood and wellbeing with aphasia after stroke: a feasibility study of Prevention Intervention and Support in Mental health (PRISM) via telerehabilitation.  

Dr Heidi Janssen, Hunter New England Local Health District. Yarning up After Stroke - working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and people living with stroke to take a yarning based tool for self-management of recovery. 

Dr Di Marsden, Hunter New England Local Health District. Let’s have a yarn about our bladder -partnering with Aboriginal people to implement stroke guideline-recommended urinary continence and lower urinary tract symptom care that is culturally appropriate and safe.